Blog Post #398 – Packaging Manufacturer Fined $55,000 after Worker Injured

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Sealed Air (Canada) CO/CIE, a Nova Scotia manufacturer of packaging products, was fined $55,000 today for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was injured.

On March 15, 2010, at the company’s plant in Brampton, a temporary worker was applying tape, sticky side out, to a cardboard roll that was rotating on a machine. The worker placed a hand on the roll and the previously applied tape caught the worker’s glove. The worker’s arm was pulled around the roller and fractured.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that the worker had not been given specific information about the hazards of placing a gloved hand on the cardboard roll.

Sealed Air (Canada) CO/CIE pleaded guilty to failing to provide adequate information, instruction and supervision to the worker.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Karen Jensen. In addition to the fine, the court imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge, as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.

My opinion

The law(s) in contravention:

Sealed Air Canada was found guilty of violating section 25, subsection 2(a) of the OHSA which states,

“The employer shall provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker to protect the health and safety of the worker.”

The working world, whether in Canada, the USA the United Kingdom, or China for that matter, has to realize that the safety of the worker has to be their # 1 priority. Of course, there are several ways to look at this issue,

a) Canada has several provinces and each have their own way of dealing with health and safety, as well as federal legislation tied to the Canadian Criminal Code. (Bill C45 which is now section 217.1 of the code) Again, the provinces seem to have their own opinions on how far to push the envelope.

b) The US has the governmental agency OSHA, and the standards organization, ANSI, which drive the health and safety of the work site. Of course, there are 50 provinces as well as territories. All have their own version of health and safety and the protection of the worker and each protect their own views on the matter.

c) China has such a large workforce that there is never any concern about health and safety in the workplace. For example, there have been many mining accidents over the years, large and small, and the answer to the assumed negligence is to shoot the manager and have him/her replaced. Never once is there any material dealing with improvements in that particular industry.

I have been very vocal in the past about health and safety. I believe a company’s cost, compared to preventable accidents and their subsequent costs are a terrific investment for the future.

Recently, I have had to deal with a few employers not understanding the full extent of employee training and the term ‘Competent’. In Ontario, competency can be described like this,

a) The worker needs to have the training, and experience to complete the work.
b) The worker needs to have good knowledge of the ACT and the appropriate regulations prior to any work being done, and
c) The worker must have knowledge of any actual or possible hazards associated with the training.

The employers wanted training to fit their understanding of training, (share a 10 minute safety video) and then sign off and allow the workers back to work. As a certified trainer and a member of the CSSE, I have to abide by the CSSE’s code of ethics and could not entertain the aforementioned issue.

I do hope your company does not fall into this type of abyss. Your workforce needs better.

Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Foundation Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

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